UI and UX – Understanding the Differences

ux-verses-ui copyUI design is how the website looks; UX is how the website works.
UI is a deliverable; UX design is a process.

UI Design stands for User Interface Design and UX Design is the User Experience Design. Both design elements are critical to the success of a website and work seamlessly together. Although they work closely together, they have very different roles in the process. UX design is very analytical and technical while UI design is the graphic design  presentation – how it looks and feels.

“User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) are some of the most confused and misused terms in our field. A UI without UX is like a painter slapping paint onto canvas without thought; while UX without UI is like the frame of a sculpture with no paper mache on it. A great product experience starts with UX followed by UI. Both are essential for the product’s success.” –  Rahul Varshney, co-creator of Foster.fm

User Interface design

UI is a combination of content such as text, forms, images and the behavior of the user. The content is not just the body of content; it also consists of button, labels, drop downs and overall graphic design. The behavior is what happens when the user clicks, types or drags within the site.

UI refers to the actual interface of a product, the visual design of the screens a user navigates through when using a mobile app, or the buttons they click when browsing a website. UI design is all the visual and interactive elements of a product interface, from typography and color palettes to animations and navigation buttons. The UI designer will take the product development, research, content and layout, and make them into a beautiful responsive experience for the users.

User Experience Design

The UX role is that of a marketer, designer and project manager. The role is multi-faceted, connecting the user’s needs to the business goals. The UX designer strives to make products, services and technology user-friendly. They will use design thinking to find the best solution to the user’s needs and determine what is technically doable while meeting the business needs.

To begin, the UX designer will conduct research and competitor analysis to fully understand the challenge. Goals, emotions, pain-points and behaviors are gathered to identify the user.  The next step is to establish the journey the user will take for the product. The designer will now look at the information architecture to map out the user flows, create wireframes and prototypes of the final product.

Working together

UX and UI go hand-in-hand. The design of the product interface has a huge impact on the overall user experience. Designing the best user experience is key to gaining complete customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.


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